20 May 2004

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Mail Viruses

The barrage of mail viruses and their side effects is getting quite annoying. In the past week, I’ve had a gnome.org mailing list subscriptions disabled twice. After looking at the mailing list archive, it was pretty obvious why.

The mail server that serves my account is set up to reject windows executables a few other viruses at SMTP delivery time (so it isn’t responsible for generating bounces). Unfortunately, a number of viruses got through to the mailing lists and were subsequently rejected before reaching my account. After a certain number of bounces of this type, mailman helpfully disables delivery.

It’d be nice if mail.gnome.org was set up to reject these sort of messages too (in the case of gnome.org it’d probably be safe to block zip files as well, which would cut out virtually all the viruses).

It also seems that the email viruses don’t pick the sender and recipient completely at random. Apparently a number of infected machines keep on mailing the XML mailing list with my address as the sender. It got so bad that the list admin put me in the “always moderate” list. Of course, this meant that I ended up receiving many messages telling me my message awaits moderation (which are pretty easy to filter). Luckily the new version of Mailman limits itself to 10 of these messages a day.


I’ve merged in some of Thomas Fitzsimmons’ jhbuild patches. It isn’t yet at a stage where you can build GCJ using an unmodified jhbuild, but we’ve got some of the basics in there. A big part of the changes involve adding support for srcdir != builddir builds, which is apparently the preferred way of compiling GCJ. This is accomplished by setting the buildroot config key to the directory where you want builds to be performed. Things aren’t fully working yet, but at least some modules build in this mode. We’ll probably need to add support for marking some modules as not supporting srcdir != builddir builds, since some modules will most likely never support it.


I’ve been doing some work to simplify the gnome-common autogen script. A lot of the infrastructure dates back to the early 2.0 days where it was important to make sure developers could hack on 1.x apps and 2.0 stuff at the same time, which involved complicated infrastructure to make sure 2.0 packages didn’t see the Gnome 1.x autoconf macros and vice versa.

Since then things have changed. Developing Gnome 1.x apps isn’t really a priority any more (and no one was using the stuff installed by gnome-common for 1.x work anyway). We also have far fewer autoconf macros in gnome-common, and they aren’t particularly Gnome 2 specific. This is partly because I killed a lot of them last year, and deprecated most of the rest. While looking through the macros this time, it turned out I could remove another one, and get rid of the deprecated macros altogether. This just leaves some macros for setting compiler warning flags, one for adding a --enable-debug configure option.

The patch moves the remaining autoconf macros to the normal $(datadir)/aclocal directory so that aclocal can find it easily, and install the common autogen script as $(bindir)/bin/gnome-autogen.sh (which was previously a small script that would choose which set of macros and autogen script to call based on an environment variable).

Hopefully these simplifications will make it easier to debug autotool failures in the various Gnome packages. Many people seem to find autoconf hard enough to understand as is without us making things more complicated and adding extra ways that things could fail.

28 April 2003

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Red Hat 9

Installed it on a few boxes, and I like what I see so far. The Bluecurve mouse cursors look really nice. It is also good to see some more of my packages included in the distro (fontilus and pyorbit).


Some spammer has been sending mail with random @daa.com.au addresses in the From: field. So far, I have received lots of double bounces, a few messages asking if we know about the spam, and many automated responses (some saying the message came from a blocked domain!). The Received headers indicate that the mail comes from somewhere else, so there isn’t much I can do. I hate spammers.

I put up a bit of documentation on the SpamAssassin/Mailman setup I developed on my website. It would be good to get mail.gnome.org switched over to the new setup (they are using an older version of my filter), as it has greatly reduced the amount of moderation required.


Did a bit more hacking on jhbuild. It now builds fontconfig and Xft from CVS, which should give Keith a few more testers. I had to update jhbuild to use libtool-1.5 as it was required to build them. This has uncovered a few bugs in various autogen.sh scripts that still need to be fixed. I also added the ability to override the cvsroots used to check things out (so if you have an account capable of writing to gstreamer from cvs, you can use it), and change the branches for individual modules which should be useful for module maintainers.


I am about half way through modifying libglade to construct arbitrary GObjects, rather than just widgets. When this is finished, it will allow eg. setting up tree view columns in the .glade file, size groups and a few other things. The change will break compatibility for backend modules, but should keep binary compatibility for apps. This seems okay given that there are only about 3-4 backend modules in existance (which add support for libgnomeui widgets, gnome-canvas and libbonoboui widgets).

17 June 2002

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Last week, one of the servers died because one of the
sticks of memory died. After pulling it out, the system
booted fine. It would have been a lot easier to test if I
didn’t have to open it up to plug a floppy drive in. I now
have Memtest86 in
the GRUB
boot menu. Was pretty easy to set up:

cp memtest.bin /boot
grubby --add-kernel="/boot/memtest.bin" --title="Memtest86"

This is the second stick of DDR memory we have had that
died; probably due to overheating. As the server has 5 IDE
ribbon cables, I might look at getting rounded cables which
Jaycar is stocking
these days.


The release candidate for GNOME is out. It is looking
very nice, and will be a great release. Still working
towards a 2.0 release of PyGTK and
gnome-python. I did a bit of work on gnome-vfs bindings
(there are a number of annoying inconsistencies in the API,
but overall it is a nice library), and jrb
has been trying to implement a full widget in python (and
reporting bugs for things that prevent him from doing so).


The honey ale I brewed turned out very nice. The first
bottle I tried (two weeks after bottling) was a bit sour,
but subsequent bottles have improved a lot.

12 May 2002

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The Call for Papers is out:


There is also an HTML version on the website, but it
doesn’t quite match the final version of the CFP (yet).


Bottled the honey ale today. It will be interesting to
see how it tastes in a few weeks. The sweetness was gone,
but I could definitely taste the honey still. It should be
very nice.


Put out yet another beta of libglade for the GNOME 2.0
beta 5 release which should be comming out this week. I
should also make new releases of pygtk and gnome-python as
well. I have done a number of improvements to the code
generator, so pygtk is a bit more complete. The last
gnome-python release no longer compiles with the latest
GConf, so it also needs a new release.